US News and World Report quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic Hof on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and the blurring of the border between Iraq and Syria:
Multiple experts now point to an ethnic group that has long waited for the right moment to declare its right to self determine, which presents a more likely chance of rejiggering the regional borders. Kurdish populations have existed in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran long before borders were drawn to compartmentalize them.
“They see this as an opportunity,” says Frederic Hof, who served as Obama’s special adviser for the transition in Syria. He now works for the Atlantic Council. “Iraqi Kurds definitely believe they are ultimately on the path to full political independence. I believe this is universally felt in that community.
However, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan relies on his domestic Kurdish popularity for a significant portion of his voter base. Hof believes the Turkish government has recently come around to the idea of negotiating with regional Kurdish groups about political shifts.
“I could have told you 10 years ago how it would work,” he says, of the previous impossibility of any kind of new state. “The Turks are in a different place now. They may come to the conclusion this is something they could live with.”